Bulging Brick Walls (Bowed Walls) - How to Identify and Solve the Problem!
Last modified: 2019/01/17 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Canada's weather conditions make life particularly hard for homes. Fortunately for us, new buildings are much more efficient in terms of preventing air and water infiltrations from happening. However, old buildings may experience significant deterioration due to changes in temperature.
Among the common problems caused by this type of situation is the bulging brick wall.
What causes bulging brick walls (or bowed brick walls)
Frequently used in the field of masonry, these expressions refer to the curved appearance that can appear on the brick exterior siding of the walls of a house. The deteriorations lead to the appearance of spaces between the siding and the structure.
The bricks break off gradually to form a swelling, which is what we call the bulging wall or bowed wall. This problem occurs most often at the top of walls, but it can also be found in other areas. This type of situation often requires a quick intervention as it can cause enormous damage, potentially leading to a full collapse of the wall.
- Water infiltration in the visible cracks of the foundation;
- Rust appearing around the anchors;
- Humidity of the walls;
- Deterioration of mortars and joints;
- Displacement or detachment of the coating.
It should be noted that the climate and the change of seasons play a large role in causing bulging brick walls and affecting the lifespan of the materials.
Bulging brick wall (credit to TVA Nouvelles)
This inspection is best done during the Fall or the Spring when temperature variations occur more often. If your house shows some or all of those signs, chances are your walls are bulging. If this is the case, you should call a professional mason for an in-depth examination. They will confirm the diagnosis and guide you through the repair process.
How to identify a bulging brick wall / bowed brick wall
A good visual inspection is enough to detect a bulging brick problem on your facade. If you notice unusual swelling in the brick or stone, do not delay in having your home inspected by a professional. The latter will be able to diagnose the problem and define the work that needs to be completed.
Another element that could help you detect this phenomenon is the windows. If you find that they seem to go inside the wall abnormally and that the bricks appear higher, then there is a good chance that it is indeed a bulging wall problem.
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How to repair a bowed brick wall
If the bulging is more than 2 inches, you may have to rebuild the entire facade. It could be possible to only replace the bricks in the section that is causing problems but achieving optimal stability of the wall isn't guaranteed with this type of solution.
Since a bulging wall weakens the whole structure, it is best to change all bricks, even those that look fine. If the bulging is less than 2 inches, the wall can be repaired without rebuilding. The mason will inject lime into the bulging section and add specific screws or ties to solidify the wall.
He may also install a steel beam to support the affected area. After they have properly examined your wall, the mason will tell you which option is best in your case. Don’t try to do it alone since the result will affect the stability of your house.
The cost to repair a bulging brick wall
If you're having a bowed brick wall problem, one of the questions you will surely be wondering about is the cost for repairs. In general, the fees are located somewhere between $ 25 and $ 40 per square foot. However, the price may vary depending on the size of the bump and the complexity of the work. To get a better idea of the amount to pay, you will need to consult a masonry expert.
The dangers caused by bulging brick walls
If your home is prone to bulging walls, then it must be repaired and quickly! This problem could lead to bricks or stones falling and endanger your family as well as your home. The space that will form as the wall starts bulging may favour the accumulation of water behind the bricks. The problem is even more common during cold periods because the freezing of water may lead to expansion that pushes the bricks.
How to prevent this problem
The bulging wall is directly caused by water infiltrations. For this reason, it is necessary to frequently inspect your brick facade for cracks. Moisture is an important factor in the development of the problem because water seeping into the walls without a chance to evaporate may cause the bricks to bulge. Keep an eye on your walls in the fall and spring as temperatures change.
The appearance of a bulging brick wall problem is not insignificant. So stay alert and contact a professional as needed because you will never be safe in the light of fluctuating weather conditions.
Get 3 renovation quotes for your bulging wall problem
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